Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Gift For My Readers - Eat And Be Merry

My dear friend, Gregory Kompes, put together a holiday recipe and story collection that could be shared during this holiday season. I know most all of the contributing authors. I can't wait to try the recipes they shared. Everyone contributed a story to go along with the good food. The writing is superb and fun to read.

I contributed my mother's pound cake recipe. My stepdaughter and I made one for Thanksgiving. This was the first time I'd attempted in all these years to make my mother's signature cake. We burnt it! Oh well, the inside tastes like heaven. I had to laugh...if you read my essay in the recipe collection, you'll understand why.

I hope you enjoy this gift. Let me know what you think. I promised to pass the comments on to Gregory. I'm sure he'd like to know that all his hard work is appreciated.

Happy Holidays!!! Here's the link to Recipes and Writing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Helice Bridges - Who She Is Made a Difference to Me

This little powerhouse is my friend Helice Bridges. I am in complete awe of this woman and I'm determined to be just like her. She smiles at everyone. She loves to give hugs. She radiates fun, joy, happiness, and acceptance. Well, she is just radiant. There is no other way to describe it.

One of the first conversations I shared with Helice was about the organization she founded called Difference Makers International. I listened and inside my head I did something I'm not very proud of. I thought something like, "Yeah, yeah...that's all fine and good but I bet your exaggerating."

From then on every time Helice was near me I'd watch her and remember my dismissive thought. I continually learned from her to let go of judgment and just accept people for who they are because they are all beautiful and have something to offer.

In my last minutes with Helice, before we boarded planes to different states, she asked if she could honor me. She took a blue ribbon from a wooden case. On the ribbon printed in gold letters were these words...Who you are makes a difference. She told me all the ways I'd made a difference in her life over the last week. She said I deserved to have my dreams come true and to never underestimate the value of my contributions. (It hit me like a brick...that's what I'd initially done to her) I was overcome with emotion and gave her a big hug.

Please got to Difference Makers International and watch the short video about Helice , her impact on children and her quest to give recognition, praise and love to as many people as she can. Read the history of her organization and explore ways to bring the Blue Ribbon program to your community. The video is very touching. Helice's personality bubbles through. I know you will see in her what I did....a shining spirit, a living example of compassion and love for others.

Helice...if you read this...I'm working everyday to live up to your example! I'm so glad we met!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama - He Can't Do It Alone

This past January, during Nevada Democratic primary, I met a man and his wife who inspired me pull my head out of the political sand. I first met Barack Obama online where I researched his biography and positions on the issues. He caught my attention and made me think.

At my local campaign office I met him again. I saw him in the faces of the people manning the phones and typing away at computers. His face was old and young, white, black and brown. These faces welcomed me and my toddler. They played with my son while I made calls to fellow Clark County voters. Obama, through them, encouraged me to step up and be a precinct captain for the caucus.

I met Barack Obama at a Precinct Captain's Rally. He walked into the room and I felt the energy, not just his energy, but the energy he'd ignited in all of us. He was calm, personable and just plain fun as he thanked us for the hours we'd dedicated to his campaign - Our campaign, he said. The primary was in a few days and he knew we'd do our best. We did. My precinct went for Clinton but it was very close. I am most proud of the way the Obama supporters behaved that day while packed inside a school room with 100 other people. It was an example of how I know our nation can behave among ourselves and with the world.

I met him through his wife, Michelle. At a small house party she spoke about her upbringing and her family. She told us her father's advice about how to pick a life partner. She said something like, "My dad said you can tell a good man because he acts the same way when no one is watching as he does when he thinks everyone is watching." My eyes welled up with tears and I thought of my dad. For the first time I was able to put my finger on what made my father so special and the lesson resonated deep within me. It was plain to see that she'd found that sort of man in Barrack.

I spoke to Senator Obama at a rally in January. He called on me and answered my question about resending the over reaching powers of the Bush administration. His answer was thoughtful and even though I was far from the stage, he looked directly at me. He talked to me. It was a genuine, complete and thoughtful answer to a complicated question. He didn't blow me off with campaign rhetoric. He listened.

That is the kind of president I feel we elected last night...a thoughtful, insightful, inclusive, intelligent man who will take time to make sound decisions, listen to our input and tell us the hard, unvarnished truth. He's asked us to be his partner along the way. The president was never meant to be a dictator or an imperialist. The office was meant to be of equal power to the Senate and the House. He was meant to be a leader, a focal point for our concerns, and a voice to remind us that we are all One with a shared purpose and destiny.

I plan to be engaged. I've got my president elect's back but I'm also a loud voice of descent if need be. I am thinking about my friends and family who are now worried for our future. They didn't see in Senator Obama what I saw. Some of them are very scared. To them I say, don't give into that fear. Don't let it make you cynical or apathetic. Use it to speak up and out, be the squeaky wheel and with Obama's philosophy of inclusion our values will intersect to form a more perfect union. Our country will be better because of you and because of me. So will the world.

Thousands of people are blogging about this very subject today. I've spent the morning reading several but none are as honest and noteworthy as Heather's commentary on her blog, The Wishful Writer. Please take time to read another view. As Obama said last night, "The road will be long. There is much to be done."